Happy New Years to you all! Many of you probably have the excellent habit of reaching for Chardonnay when you’re at the grocery store. An insanely popular international brand for Chardonnay, Chateau St. Michelle has become one of Washington’s premier producers of good quality Chardonnay over the past few decades. One key to their success is an extremely low price point that delivers quality in the glass. Their entry level Chardonnay bottling retails for about ten dollars and constantly over-delivers each vintage.
I recently had the chance to run through the entire lineup of Chateau St. Michelle Chardonnays and was hugely impressed. The new releases come from a challenging vintages for white wine (2014 and 2015), due to high temperatures and heat spikes. I found the latest releases to be as impressive as previous vintages. While the wines might not possess quite the level of structure of cooler vintages, they are filled with rich fruit flavor and wonderful viscosity. Look for the 2015 Chateau St. Michelle ‘Indian Wells’ Chardonnay (WWB, 90) which has wonderful richness and is an insane value at the $12.00 price point. Their best wine, the 2014 ‘Ethos Reserve’ Chardonnay (WWB, 93) has irresistible dense tree fruit flavors and an exceedingly long finish. Learn more about Chateau St. Michelle Chardonnay at https://www.ste-michelle.com/ Here are the great new Chardonnay wines by Chateau St. Michelle.
2015 Chateau St. Michelle Chardonnay – The Chardonnay wine opens with aromatics of baked pear, peach pit, vanilla cream with Meyer lemon accents. The palate is rich with flavors of creme brulee, ripe banana, golden delicious apple and a long, cream-driven finish. This is a wonderful value bottling from this estate. Drink 2017-2022- 89
2015 Chateau St. Michelle ‘Indian Wells’ Chardonnay’- The 2015 vintage in Washington was marked by heat spikes which led to a record early harvest for Chardonnay. Sourced from the Indian Wells Vineyard in the Columbia Valley, this dense wine opens with rich aromatics of brioche, vanilla cream and toasted oak. There are ripe flavors reminiscent of New York apple, brioche, honeydew melon, butterscotch, roasted pineapple, and suggestions of nutmeg. The oak influence is evident, but in moderation, as this is an excellent value from this estate. (Best 2016-2020)- 90
2014 Chateau St. Michelle 'Cold Creek Vineyard' Chardonnay- The 2014 Chateau St. Michelle 'Cold Creek Vineyard' Chardonnay is an awesome release from this estate. Possessing a rich and golden hue, the wine begins with aromatics of hazelnuts, pineapple, vanilla cream and brioche. The palate yields dense flavors of creme brulee, allspice, Meyer lemon zest and New York apple. This balanced and mineral driven wine has a lovely weight on the mid-palate, which leads to a long, vanilla-cream laced finish. This is another highly impressive bottling from Chateau St. Michelle and their impressive winemaking team lead by Bob Bertheau. Drink 2017-2023- 92
2014 Chateau St. Michelle 'Canoe Ridge Estate' Chardonnay- Coming from a hot vintage, the 2014 'Canoe Ridge Estate' Chardonnay by Chateau St. Michelle begins with an aromatic profile of brioche, burnt cream, French vanilla and suggestions of baking spices. On the plate there is nice weight, especially when warmed up a bit. There are rich flavors reminiscent of Pazzaz apple, roasted pineapple, nutmeg, and brioche that sit alongside some marvelous acidity. This is just a gorgeous bottling that shows excellent poise considering the vintage. Drink 2017-2023- 92
2014 Chateau St. Michelle 'Ethos' Chardonnay- The 2014 Chateau St. Michelle 'Ethos' Chardonnay shows wonderful richness, balance and minerality. The wine begins with a bouquet of exotic spices, vanilla creme brulee, Pink Lady apple, and poached pear. This leads to dense flavors of Meyer lemon zest, heavy whipping cream, butterscotch, Pazzaz apple and suggestions of allspice. Seductive and exceedingly long on the finish, this shows some moderate oak influence but maintains very nice balance. This is the Washington style of Chardonnay and is one of the best of its kind that I have sampled in the past year. I can imagine this picking up some beautiful secondary characteristics after two plus years of cellaring -- however, this is literally impossible to resist right now. Drink 2017-2024- 93